Category Archives: Arts

Ubuntu, Hope, and Respect: Socially Conscious Music from the African Continent, the Indian Ocean, and North America

Music is often a reflection of struggles for social change, and a source for joy and hope for the future. This can be heard in the songs noted in my first music review article in the February 2021 issue of … Continue reading

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Slightly Out of Focus: A Review of One Night in Miami and Judas and the Black Messiah

For more than 70 years and over a century, respectively, television and cinema have presented demeaning images of Black people. And for equally as long, African Americans have responded with boycotts, pickets and alternative visions that “depict[ed] our men and … Continue reading

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The Quiet Strength of Bamboo: Three Wonderful Films from the Pacific to Stream

Add these three visually stunning and thoughtful films to your watch list. Each, to varying degrees, tells a story of indigenous culture from an insider’s point of view, and each offers the special pleasure of real people playing themselves in … Continue reading

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Black Art Politicized: A Discussion with Leslie Smith

I had the amazing opportunity to interview Leslie Smith, a board member of the Urbana–Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) and the founder of Black Voices Theater Production. As someone who grew up in a household with a father who is … Continue reading

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Remembering John Prine

As we trudge through the second year of the pandemic, the calendar brings gloomy anniversaries. April 7, 2021 was an especially mournful day, marking one year since John Prine died from COVID-19 complications in a Nashville hospital at the age … Continue reading

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“Congo to the Mississippi”: Recent Socially Conscious Music from Africa and the Americas

It is wonderful that so much music from around the world is now easily available to us, especially through the Internet and radio. My main source is Songlines magazine, a monthly published in print and online in London. Every print … Continue reading

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“The Big Scary ‘S’ Word” is Coming for your Children

  Did you know that Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx had a correspondence; that Helen Keller was a socialist, as was Francis Bellamy, who authored the Pledge of Allegiance; that North Dakota practices public banking; and that in the 1840s … Continue reading

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What I Learned While being the Poet Laureate for the City of Urbana . . .

I learned that the people of Urbana truly appreciated the emphasis on poetry in their public lives.  They felt it improved their town in a tangible way. I learned that many poets live in this community who don’t always interact … Continue reading

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Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center Offers Digital Venue Space and Community with its Sounds Like Community Web Series

The UC-IMC has always been a popular venue space for performances of all kinds, from spoken word poetry to live music, to art shows, plays and much more. But when the pandemic struck, the IMC Board of Directors was forced … Continue reading

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What to Watch for Dinner Tonight: Trump Through the Looking Glass

Who does Trump see when he looks in the mirror? Like many of us over the proverbial hill, he likely does not acknowledge his elderly self; he sees his younger self, glamorized through the pronounced image he cultivated over decades … Continue reading

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Artist Spotlight on Charlotte Prieu

Tell me a little about yourself and your past creative work. I am a French native and a PhD student in French Linguistics at the University of Illinois. I am very passionate about social justice, especially regarding anti-racism and intersectional … Continue reading

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Artist Spotlight: Mark Enslin

A column curated by staff of the Urbana Public Arts Program Composer, performer, activist and teacher, Mark Enslin studied music at Webster College and has a doctorate in music composition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the University … Continue reading

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Nika Lucks

A column curated by staff of the Urbana Public Arts Program Nika Lucks is a local photographer originally from the Chicago Southside. Her most recent work, People of Speech: Part I, draws inspiration from parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, … Continue reading

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The Water Project: Examining our relationship with our most precious resource

Nancy Dietrich is a resident of Urbana who became an environmentalist because she likes to breathe clean air and drink clean water. “Destruction of water resources and of forest catchments and aquifers is a form of terrorism. Denying poor people … Continue reading

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Hip-Hop and the Black Radical Tradition in CU

i must confess that waltzes do not move me. i have no sympathy for symphonies i guess i hummed the Blues too early, and spent too many midnights out wailing in the rain. Assata Shakur – Culture The tradition of … Continue reading

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IMC Gallery: Art Under Pressure

The IMC Gallery is excited to announce Art Under Pressure featuring works from student artists from Centennial High School: Nellie Haug Amy Janson Brenda Gonzalez Salinas Avalon Ruby Adriana Ortiz Carolyn Cai Hannah Schriefer Pascale Grant Veronica Miller Opening Reception: … Continue reading

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City and IMC Announce $50,000 grant for creative placemaking from the NEA

Downtown Urbana is about to become a lot more creative – thanks to the vision of local youth, the City of Urbana, the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (IMC), and the National Endowment of the Arts. The NEA has announced awards … Continue reading

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Youth Poetry

MY CURLY HAIR by Amina Alamin My curly hair can do anything it can be in big braids and in little braids and curled in to ringlets and many more things. Some people don’t like my hair and some people … Continue reading

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Citizens Divided: the Presidential Campaign and Film

Audrey Wells (Audrey Wells is a retired educator, freelance writer, and co-author of The Art of Theater: Playing Movies for 100 Years.) In an important film from the 2008 presidential race, Ann Coulter warns of Hillary Clinton: “She’s far more … Continue reading

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Cuba Libre?

By David Prochaska President Barack Obama visited Havana March 2016. Perhaps even more important, the Rolling Stones played a free concert right after. Commercial airline flights to Cuba are likely to begin in October. Even as the US moves to … Continue reading

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